What’s Better Straight or Curved Trimmer?

By Power Tools

March 7, 2021

On the outside, straight and curved trimmers look pretty much the same. 

The only difference is the shaft. Whereas a curved trimmer has a slight curve on the end, a straight trimmer’s shaft is longer and completely straight.

The curved trimmer is best used on a small to medium yard, as it’s not designed for commercial use. They’re lightweight and easy to use, and also work out more cost-effective than straight trimmers. 

Straight trimmers have a longer shaft and are also stronger and more versatile than their curved counterpart, so they are better suited to heavy-duty jobs and commercial use. They are however more difficult to control, and the design is better suited to taller people and bigger yards. 

Straight trimmers often have more powerful engines, but the downside of this is that it makes them heavier to use, and also causes more noise and vibration. 

These different types of trimmers are best suited to different tasks. 

A curved trimmer is lightweight and easy to use, making it ideal for a small yard, but a straight trimmer has a greater reach and is more powerful.

The latter is also usually more durable, so in terms of overall quality, a straight trimmer probably comes out on top. 

What shape trimmer line is best?

The shape of your trimmer line can make a big difference to the results you get when trimming your yard or landscape. 

  • Round: This standard, basic shape is wear-resistant and ideal for light work such as trimming edges in your own yard or someone else’s residential property. 
  • Square: This is best used by professionals on heavy weeds.
  • Multi-Sided: Multi-sided trimmer line is best for dealing with thick, heavy weeds in large yards. 
  • Twisted: This variety is heavy-duty and is one of the most efficient, so it keeps your trimmer’s noise level low.
  • Serrated: Serrated is quick and clean and easily works through large areas of heavy, thick grass and weeds.
  • There are a few other things to bear in mind when it comes to trimmer line shape. 

Trimmer line comes in varying cross-sections, so you also need to consider this. 

It’s also a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s manual to identify the recommended diameter and shape of the trimmer line in your trimmer, as some will only take a specialized line that must be matched to the brand of your trimmer. 

Are Straight Shaft Trimmers more Powerful?

Yes, straight shaft trimmers are more powerful than curved shaft trimmers, which is why they’re often the choice for commercial jobs. They have a longer shaft than the curved variety, and the rod extends straight from the head to the power source without bending. 

This design allows manufacturers to experiment more with different types of drive mechanisms, which usually contain plastic or steel cable. For commercial-grade trimmers, a solid steel driveshaft is used, and these are far more durable than plastic driveshafts. These can accommodate optional cutting blade attachments and heavy-duty replacement strings. 

As we said previously, straight trimmers are usually heavier and more difficult to maneuver than curved trimmers due to their more powerful engines. This extra power also results in more noise and vibration.

While curved shaft trimmers will do a fine job of trimming your small backyard, they’ll struggle to deal with big jobs on commercial premises, which is why straight shaft trimmers are always preferred for these jobs, as they’re more flexible and versatile, as well as having a bigger and more powerful engine. 

Can you edge with a curved shaft trimmer?

Yes, you can edge with a curved shaft trimmer. 

The curved shaft allows for good maneuverability and the shorter length makes it easier to control the trimmer. However, it will still take some patience to achieve a neat finish, and if it’s your first time, don’t be disheartened if you don’t achieve the established look on your first attempt.

It’s important to check the power/fuel before you start and keep the shaft a safe distance from your body while edging. You’ll want to place the head of the trimmer horizontally so that the curved portion is aligned with the land, then make a 30-degree angle with the straight part. You should cut the grass in slow motion and take your time, always ensuring you’re using the trimmer safely and correctly. 

The best tool for edging is the power tool specifically designed for this job: an edger. 

These are designed with metal blades that spin vertically in order to achieve a nice, clean edge. 

Here are a few extra tips to bear in mind when edging: 

  • Be conscious of what is around you while trimming/edging. 
  • Always wear safety glasses to protect against debris. 
  • Keep the trimmer lower until it contacts the ground.
  • Try to keep a 90-degree angle to meet the goal.
  • Make sure the trimmer hurls the debris the opposite way.
  • Wear gloves to reduce the chances of blisters.
  • Don’t expect results straight away – practice is key! 

Why do straight shaft trimmers turn counterclockwise?

Most straight shaft trimmers spin their string counterclockwise because of the gearbox inside the trimmer, which results in the grass being cut more cleanly and efficiently along a wall from right to left.

Straight shaft trimmers use a gearbox so that the trimmer head is even with the ground, whereas curved shaft trimmers don’t need a gearbox, and as a result, the engine spins clockwise. That’s why straight shafts spin counterclockwise and curved shafts spin clockwise.

However, this design element causes most right-handed users to walk sideways or backward when using a straight-shaft trimmer, whereas the more efficient and safer way to trim from right to left is to trim left-handed. 

This allows the operator to walk straight ahead (instead of sideways or backward), with his right shoulder closest to the wall and holding the trimmer across his waist with his arms fully extended. This method is not only a lot safer but will also substantially reduce fatigue.